To help its business partners build big data applications as well as other types of apps, IBM announced a new application development cloud called the IBM Power Development Platform.
Announced at the IBM PartnerWorld Leadership Conference, the IBM Power Development Platform (PDP) provides software developers with no-charge access over the cloud to IBM Power Systems servers to build, port and test applications.
IBM officials said the company expects the new resource will be of particular interest to Linux developers, many of whom are seeking and using more powerful, modern servers built to handle the new wave of open, collaborative applications for big data, mobile and social business computing.
Accessible through IBM’s PartnerWorld program, the PDP provides developers with worldwide remote access to the latest IBM POWER7 and POWER7+ processor-based servers running Linux, AIX and IBM i operating systems. Once up and running on the PDP, users have access to the same Power Systems hardware platform that, together with Linux, powers IBM Watson’s cognitive computing solutions.
Additionally, the PDP includes a new Linux porting image with IBM DB2 10.x, IBM WebSphere 8.5.5 and the latest Linux development tools for Power. The PDP also serves as an entry point to the full IBM Software Group Software Access Catalog, which contains current versions of hundreds of downloadable IBM software applications.
“The new era of computing upon us requires more from technology infrastructure—faster insights, greater efficiency, tighter collaboration,” said Doug Balog, general manager of IBM Power Systems, in a statement. “Now more than ever we’re seeing a lot of new, exciting things being done on the Power platform. Our new development cloud will serve as a springboard for innovation from a talented development community. Providing cloud access to Power accelerates the development of applications that deliver even greater business value to our clients.”
The PDP complements a growing network of physical Power Systems Linux Centers launched last year around the world, with the first centers located in Beijing; New York; Austin, Texas; Montpellier, France; and Tokyo. Together, the centers have provided hundreds of business partners, ISVs and developers with hands-on help porting, testing, certifying and demonstrating thousands of applications successfully on the Power platform. The Beijing center alone helped more than 300 visitors port 562 new applications to the Power platform in 2013.
Prior to the launch of the PDP, IBM offered virtual access to Power servers through an online resource called the Virtual Loaner Program. Given growing interest, particularly by Linux developers, IBM performed an overhaul of the program over the past few months. Major enhancements included in the new PDP are increased capacity, additional Linux development tools, improved reservation navigation and deeper social media integration to provide users with more news and information.
IBM Developer Cloud Gets a Power Boost
“As the world is being transformed by cloud, mobile, social, big data and analytics, we need to enable our Business Partners to transform with it so they can take full advantages of the opportunities these changes bring,” said Tom Rosamilia, senior vice president of the IBM Systems & Technology Group and Integrated Supply Chain, in a statement. “Our goal is to provide our Business Partners with the broadest set of capabilities, programs, incentives and solutions in the industry, allowing them to move to higher-value opportunities and achieve greater success.”
Business partners are crucial to IBM’s success. Indeed, at the PartnerWorld conference, IBM CEO Ginny Rometty said partners account for 20 percent of IBM’s revenues—and 30 percent of IBM’s software revenues.
The PDP joins other cloud-based development programs from IBM. In November, IBM announced it was opening up its Watson cognitive computing technology to developers by providing access to Watson as a development platform in the cloud.
“This is a day we’ve been looking forward to—opening the power of Watson to the innovators of the world,” said John Gordon, vice president of IBM’s Watson solutions division. “People can use Watson’s deep insight to transform all of us across the planet. This will be a major competitive advantage for folks.”
Gordon said IBM will provide multiple components to help developers take advantage of Watson. One will be a platform for the ecosystem to build applications on, including the Watson development cloud. IBM also will provide a Watson content store, which will serve as a channel for developers to bring their Watson-based solutions to market. In addition, IBM will team with a set of talent partners to help developers who require assistance with the Watson technology. And Big Blue will wield its influence with the venture capital (VC) community to help new entrepreneurs get started building off of the Watson technology, Gordon said.
In short, IBM will deliver a cloud-based marketplace, a “sandbox” of resources for developing Watson-powered apps. This includes a developer toolkit, educational materials and access to Watson’s APIs, as well as IBM subject matter experts and a network of third-party experts, designers, coders and providers of data-rich content.
IBM recently announced its first VC investment from the Watson Group. Welltok, developer of the CaféWell Health Optimization Platform, announced it has raised $22.1 million in Series C funding led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA), with new participation from IBM and Qualcomm, through its venture capital arm, Qualcomm Ventures’ life fund portfolio.
IBM’s first direct investment from its recently formed Watson Group supports the company’s partnership with Welltok to build CaféWell Concierge, a new application infused with Watson‘s cognitive computing capabilities. Welltok’s app will call upon Watson’s ability to uncover insights from big data by understanding the complexities of human language, reading millions of pages of data within seconds and improving its own performance by learning.